Populous Chinese cities including Shenzhen speed up COVID restrictions

BEIJING, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Several major Chinese cities stepped up COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday, with Shenzhen closing more businesses and Dalian locking down millions, renewing economic uncertainty and delaying the start of the school year for some.

The new measures, which are expected to last only a few days for now, reflect China’s insistence on its so-called “dynamic COVID zero” policy which aims to snuff out each outbreak as it occurs.

The stakes are higher for China’s already faltering national economy compared to earlier this month, when lockdowns were mostly in smaller towns. A further major escalation or extension of restrictions in major metropolises, such as Chengdu in southwest China, risks hurting tepid economic growth. Read more

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“Markets could be hit again over the next two weeks, likely triggering another round of street cuts,” Nomura warned in a note on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of cities such as the southern tech hub of Shenzhen. .

Longhua, a district of Shenzhen with a population of 2.5 million, closed various entertainment venues and wholesale markets on Tuesday, and suspended major events.

People must present proof of negative test results within 24 hours to enter residential compounds, and restaurants must limit the number of customers to no more than 50 percent of their capacity, the Longhua district authority said. . The new curbs are set to expire on Saturday.

The measures follow similar measures announced on Monday for three other districts that have affected more than 6 million people in Shenzhen, which has battled multiple outbreaks of Omicron subvariants this year.

Although city officials did not announce a general delay for the new school year, six parents with children in elementary and secondary schools said their schools informed them of the postponements, with many parents expressing concern over uncertainty in parent focus groups.

In Dalian, a major port in northeast China important for imports of soybeans and iron ore, major urban areas with around 3 million people entered a lockdown on Tuesday that is expected to last until Sunday. Households are only allowed to send one person per day to buy basic necessities.

During the lockdown, non-essential workers must work from home, while manufacturing companies must reduce on-site staff and maintain only basic and urgent operations.

In the southwestern city of Chengdu, Wuhou and Qingyang districts on Tuesday suspended many sights and tour groups and planned to delay the start of the fall semester for schools, after the Jinniu district tightened restrictions on Monday. The three districts have a total population of around 3.5 million.

The northern municipality of Tianjin, which has a population of 13.7 million, on Tuesday launched a new citywide COVID test to identify community infections, the fourth such test since Saturday.

In the northern city of Shijiazhuang, about a 3.5-hour drive from the capital Beijing, four major districts have ordered more than 3 million residents to work from home, excluding essential workers, until Wednesday afternoon.

Mainland China reported 1,717 locally transmitted COVID infections for August 29, including 349 symptomatic and 1,368 asymptomatic infections, according to official data released Tuesday.

Among more than 20 provinces, regions and municipalities that reported cases, Tibet region, Sichuan province, of which Chengdu is the capital, and Qinghai province contributed the most daily cases for Monday.

Qinghai’s provincial capital, Xining, with a population of 2.5 million, ordered its main urban areas to be locked down, halting public transport and restricting movement outside residential compounds. The lockdown, which started on Monday, was due to be lifted Thursday morning.

In Hong Kong, cases have risen and government advisers expect infections to hit 10,000 a day this week, raising fears authorities will tighten restrictions that have only just been eased.

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Ryan Woo, David Kirton and Anne Marie Roantree; Edition by Lincoln Feast.

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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